Catedral de San Ildefonso
Good for: Everyone who loves history and
- 6am-noon & 4-7pm
Lonely Planet review for Catedral de San Ildefonso
On the plaza Grande’s east side, on the site of a former Maya temple, is Mérida’s hulking, severe cathedral, begun in 1561 and completed in 1598. Some of the stone from the Maya temple was used in its construction. The massive crucifix behind the altar is Cristo de la Unidad (Christ of Unity), a symbol of reconciliation between those of Spanish and Maya heritage. To the right over the south door is a painting of Tutul Xiu, cacique (indigenous chief) of the town of Maní paying his respects to his ally Francisco de Montejo at T’ho (de Montejo and Xiu jointly defeated the Cocomes; Xiu converted to Christianity, and his descendants still live in Mérida).